Birdon is a long established family-owned marine engineering business located near Port Macquarie in NSW that provides a diversified range of services including shipbuilding and repair, dredging, and engineering and contracting services.

Birdon is a regular Top 20-SME Supplier to the and US Defence industries and the owner of the US-based marine waterjet manufacturer NAMJet.

A high profile contract

Between 2003 and 2005 Birdon built 24 Bridge Erection Patrol Boats (BEPB) for the Australian Army.

Following an extremely competitive tender process, the US Government announced that Birdon American Inc had been awarded a contract for the construction of up to 374 of its Series II BEBs for the US Army. The contract will be delivered over four years with a potential contract value of US$261 million.

This was the culmination of four years of design, tender submission and prototype trials, based on Birdon’s homegrown design originally delivered to the Australian Army.

“ Export Finance Australia’s approach to fully assess Birdon’s capability, past contract performance and financial stability was a determining factor in persuading the US Government to award the contract to Birdon.”
Jamie Bruce, CEO, Birdon Group"

How we helped

The contract was split into two phases. The first phase (LRIP phase) involves the delivery of 25 Bridge Erection Boats (BEB). After the successful delivery of the LRIP phase, Birdon will enter a full production phase for up to a total of 374 BEBs.

Birdon established new manufacturing facilities in Denver, Colorado, under the technical direction of Birdon’s experienced Australian division to deliver the first phase.

The business required financial support for expenditure related to the delivery of this phase of the contract, including materials, labour and overheads.

Access to finance in the US was not an option and Birdon America Inc had to rely solely on its Australian operations to fund the first phase. Whilst Birdon’s bank, NAB, was extremely supportive of this significant contract, they were confined geographically to dealing with Australian territories and so Birdon approached Export Finance Australia for support.

Our Export Working Capital Guarantee helped fund the startup operations to support Birdon’s contract with the US Army for the manufacture and delivery of BEBs.

Securing this contract has provided a global platform for controlled and profitable growth in international markets for Birdon.

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